Understanding myths about mental illness and the workplace

It's long been thought that people who suffer from mental illnesses are not suited to the workplace. This is just one of many myths that persist, even though research has shown just the opposite in many cases. Here are some other myths about mental illness and how it affects sufferers in the workplace.

-- Those who suffer from mental illness are potentially dangerous and violent. This myth is perpetuated by the media. The truth is that the overwhelming majority of people with mental illnesses are not violent or dangerous according to a review of research literature done at Cornell University.

-- On-the-job stress is not tolerated by those who suffer from mental illnesses. Many people who are not able to tolerate stress at work do not have a mental illness. Some people are not able to work when they have no specific work schedule. Others do better when their day is specifically structured at work. Each worker's productivity is best when his or her job matches an employee's needs.

-- People who suffer from mental illnesses cannot be as productive as workers who do not have such a disability. In many ways, mental illness sufferers are better workers when it comes to attendance and punctuality than other employees. Productivity, according to research studies, is no different between those with and without psychiatric disorders.

-- People never recover from mental illnesses. This was thought to be the case in the past. However, not all mental illnesses are untreatable or permanent. Because the treatment of these disorders has improved greatly, most people who suffer from mental illnesses are able to see a reduction in their symptoms and enjoy an improvement over time. Reintegration into the workplace is possible as more and more sufferers experience true recovery.

While there is a stigma associated with mental illness, research has found that many of the facts about mental illness are simply myths. Support from employers for those who suffer from mental illness is essential to their continued success. Workers' compensation may be available to those whose mental illness is made worse by their jobs. A Pennsylvanie attorney can provide more about what benefits are available.

Source: The Mental Health Association in Pennsylvania, "Myths About Mental Illness in the Workplace," accessed May 06, 2016

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